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Brother of man who allegedly froze to death seeks answers over 999 call handling

PUBLISHED: 18:30 30 January 2018 | UPDATED: 18:30 30 January 2018

Picture: Archant Library.

Picture: Archant Library.

The brother of a man who allegedly froze to death after waiting 18 hours for an ambulance to arrive is demanding answers.

Priors Close in Lowestoft. Picture: Google. Priors Close in Lowestoft. Picture: Google.

Anthony Barnard, 57, was found dead outside a home in Priors Close, Lowestoft, on December 28.

Police had reported concerns for his welfare to the ambulance service on December 27, and his body was found the next day.

The call at 3.46pm on December 27 was categorised by the ambulance service as a non-emergency call not requiring a response, as Mr Barnard was “conscious and breathing,”

But after neighbours alerted the ambulance service with a second 999 call at 10.33am on December 28 – with reports of “a man who was not breathing and was in cardiac arrest,” according to the trust – Mr Barnard was found dead outside the address.

Mr Barnard had recently been evicted from his home in the same street.

Speaking to the BBC, Mr Barnard’s brother Jeremy said an apology from the authorities would not be “good enough”.

Calling for someone to be held accountable following his brother’s death, Jeremy said his concerns rested with the handling of the call.

He told the BBC: “The ambulance were phoned and I understand it was talked back to the police and they made the decision not to do anything.”

The tragic case emerged after Mr Barnard’s death was highlighted by an ambulance service whistleblower, with it being suspected that he had “frozen to death”.

The East of England Ambulance Service said the incident was being “formally investigated” by the trust.

Suffolk Police said they have made a “mandatory referral” to the Independent Office for Police Conduct (IOPC), which will conduct an independent investigation.

The matter was also raised at Prime Minister’s Questions in the House of Commons by Waveney MP Peter Aldous, with Theresa May describing it as a “very worrying and tragic case”.

Neighbours described Mr Barnard as a very private man, one said: “It’s very sad when someone perishes like that.”

Waveney MP Peter Aldous said: “There was clearly a tragic error and we need to see where this happened so we can learn from that and put the system right.”

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